P.o.P. Goes the Work!
L.A. Alliance College Ready Leaders Advance the Work Through P.o.P. (Problem of Practice)
Our ILT’s wrote their SMARTe goals. We crafted our instructional focus based on data, determined best practices agreed upon by all, created a tagline or motto to support our focus, and designed an urgent message to all of our stakeholders. We saw some pockets of growth for some students, and yet, we didn’t seem to get enough traction for ALL of our students.
That’s when we decided to look at classroom instruction in a focused, systematic, purposeful, and collective way. Five Los Angeles Alliance charter middle and high schools are participating in instructional rounds, where they each host a visit for the four cohort schools. Before hosting the visit, the host team identifies a problem of practice (P.o.P.) on which the members of the Alliance cohort focus on during the instructional rounds. The P.o.P. is an instructional problem that the host team wants to solve in order to improve student learning.
Identifying a problem and then asking guiding questions to support that problem gave ILTs the ability to provide authentic feedback to the schools. The feedback was descriptive and not judgmental. We analyzed the evidence and determined the “next level of work” based on “if students did everything the teachers said and experienced in class, they would be able to do the following:” The host school’s ILT then shares the findings with their entire staff and determines their “next level of work”.
Gertz High School provided professional development to all teachers on rigorous questioning as determined by Webb’s depth of knowledge and their home office’s focus on cognitive lift and were wondering why their subgroups were not making progress. Their principal Stephanie Tsai stated the following after hosting and sharing their problem of practice:
“Student subgroup performance on end-of-year assessments and Interims has moved a little but we haven’t closed performance gaps quickly enough. In our walkthrough with our Focused Schools cohort, we looked for evidence of instructional accommodations being made for subgroups. We didn’t see appropriate and effective supports being implemented and, as such, we have started doing regular instructional walkthroughs with our ILT members to focus on supports for students with disabilities and ELs, in responding to questioning, which is aligned to our instructional focus. We have also started running strands through our ILT-led PD, once per month, that focus specifically on how to support students with disabilities and English Learners in responding to pre-scripted questions with a range of DOK levels. Our next step is to connect this focus to our regular data meetings where we analyze student work samples and identify misconceptions and formulate research plans. By focusing in on student work samples specifically from our students with disabilities and ELs, we can plan more effectively to support these subgroups in classroom instruction.”